March for Life Represents “Longest Acting and Most Massive Social Human Rights Movement in U.S. History”

Human Life International Director of International Coordination Joseph Meaney spoke to Vatican Radio’s Ann Schneible this week about the March for Life in Washington, D.C. He said that it’s important to emphasize — especially since the mainstream media tends to ignore the event — that, “the fact that there are hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people that have consistently come out for over 40 years now makes this the longest acting and most massive social human rights movement in U.S. history.”

March for Life-2014-web
Picture from the 2014 March for Life.

Meaney cited the recent polling trends among youth identifying more as being pro-life and legislative success at the state level as positive advances for pro-lifers, saying, “On the grassroots, the pro-life movement in the U.S. is very aggressively moving forward.”

He said some of those state-level victories have just been enforcing standard health safety codes and making abortion clinics get inspected.

“The number of abortion clinics in the U.S. has been on a long-term decline, but in the last few years especially there’s been a huge number of them shut down because of health code violations,” he said. “These places hadn’t been inspected in years.”

Meaney believes the work done to expose the “house of horrors” of abortionist Kermit Gosnell sparked the public to pay closer attention to how dangerous abortion centers can be both for the preborn and for their mothers.

“The Gosnell situation in Philadelphia, where just horrific things were happening in that, basically, a chop shop, ended up waking up the consciences of a lot of people that think these places need to be inspected,” he said.

Joseph Meaney
Joseph Meaney

Meaney also said that one of the biggest challenges facing the pro-life movement is the propaganda rhetoric from the pro-abortion crowd that “pro-life” equals “anti-woman.”

“There’s been this whole mantra of the ‘war against women,’” he said, “Before that, the pro-abortion movement emphasized ‘choice,’ but now they’re trying to make pro-lifers look like they’re anti-woman. So there’s been a lot of need to address that and say, ‘Look, being pro-life is being pro-woman.’”

This year’s March for Life marked the 41st anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision overturning state restrictions and legalizing abortion throughout the United States. Estimates are that over 55 million babies have been killed by abortion in the U.S. since the Roe decision.

The full audio and a partial transcript of the interview are below:

 

Joseph: The pro-life movement in the U.S. is in opposition to the current administration, and it’s also very much working against Roe v. Wade, so both of those are very long-term goals. But at the same time, on the grassroots, the pro-life movement in the U.S. is very aggressively moving forward. One of the things I find most interesting is the way young people have been polling more consistently pro-life, as well as the general population, but particularly the young people, and how the abortion industry itself has been suffering a lot in recent years.

Ann: What are some of the challenges being faced by pro-life advocates, especially any new challenges that you’re seeing?

Joseph: I would say the biggest new challenge is facing a lot of these people who are coming out and declaring that being pro-life is being anti-woman. There’s been this whole mantra of the ‘war against women.’ It’s the new strategy. Before that, the pro-abortion movement emphasized ‘choice,’ but now they’re trying to make pro-lifers look like they’re anti-woman. So there’s been a lot of need to address that and say, ‘Look, being pro-life is being pro-woman.’”

Ann: What are some of the positive advances that we’re seeing in the pro-life movement itself?

Joseph: One of the most exciting things is what’s happening on the state level. Because things are very much blocked in Washington, what’s been a big focus legislatively in the U.S. has been on passing pro-life laws. If you look at Alan Guttmacher and some of these abortion advocates they really decry the fact that all this pro-life legislation has been passed in Texas and some of the other states—really pushing back the legality of abortion and making it more difficult to access. One of the more positive effects that we have seen is just enforcing standard health safety codes and making abortion clinics get inspected for health and safety standards. And most of these are failing, and all these clinics are having to close down. The number of abortion clinics in the U.S. has been on a long-term decline, but in the last few years especially there’s been a huge number of them shut down because of health code violations. These places hadn’t been inspected in years. And the Gosnell situation in Philadelphia, where just horrific things were happening in that, basically, a chop shop, ended up waking up the consciences of a lot of people that think these places need to be inspected.

Ann: You mentioned the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa traveling around. Can you talk a little more about this?

Joseph: It’s a wonderful pro-life initiative that has an ecumenical character. Essentially it’s the Orthodox and Catholics working together. This icon, which is a copy of Our Lady of Czestochowa’s icon, was made by HLI Poland but was taken by the Russian Orthodox to Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean and crossed all of Eurasia all the way over to Poland. And then they took it all across Western Europe. Now it’s moved to the U.S., and it’s moving all across the U.S. and then throughout Latin America. This year at the March for Life the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa is going to be there and is going to be accompanied in the middle of the pro-life march by the Knights of Malta. At this point over 4 million have come out to pray for the pro-life cause with this icon. It’s gone to many abortion centers. Many abortion healings have taken place. It’s been a very positive pro-life impact. We call her Our Lady, Mother of Life.

Ann: Is there anything else you think is important for our listeners to know about?

Joseph: It’s important to emphasize the fact that this is just a wonderful, enormous March. It doesn’t get enough attention, the fact that there are hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people that have consistently come out for over 40 years now makes this the longest acting and most massive social human rights movement in U.S. history. And one that is going strong, even though the media is not paying much attention to it.

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